The Casual Vacancy

Will the real world painted by acclaimed Harry Potter writer, J. K. Rowling, be as fascinating as the magical one? Let's see...

The story surrounds a parish council election following the death of Barry Fairbrother in a small town named Pagford, where young characters take up all bad things from verbal profanities to drug abuse and violence reveal the facade of a happy, bustling town. To drive home the point, there are several mentions of a certain "miraculously unguarded vagina", which has set Twitter busy.

Potterheads, avid fans of the Potter series, will be in for a rude shock. It is a corrupted, bleak and unpleasant world – a complete opposite of the Hogwarts world where even the villains have their own fans. Not only that, the prose is a lot ruder and more crude with depictions of violence, deaths, drug abuse and other tragedies. With so many unfortunate happenings, it is as if Rowling stored up all the bad stuff she had to avoid while writing the Potter series and used them all up here.

As she did with Potter, there are so many rich characters all packed in a single novel but fans can forget about meeting another Harry, Hermione or Ron there. Her experience with young characters shines here though from an underage illiterate prostate to the awkward rude teenager to drug addict youth, and they are used to illustrate cliched morals such as being responsible and blah.

Very likely a conscious choice made by Rowling, The Casual Vacancy is a deliberate attempt to break off from her success with the Potter series. But as a standalone novel for adults, The Casual Vacancy is engaging but wouldn't catch your attention without Rowling's prior fame.

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